Executive Seminars Program

Purpose

The Executive Seminars Program is designed to offer professional people a meaningful continuing education experience that is especially tailored to consider the duties and obligations of citizenship in our participatory republican democracy. 

Curriculum

The Institute offers its world-class curriculum and Socratic methodology to the working professional through a series of seminars. In each seminar classic and contemporary texts covering the breadth of western civilization form the starting points of a rich conversation in which the questions posed and explored help to exposit the timeless wisdom of the texts. Seminars are designed to leave the participant personally and professionally invigorated, more skilled in making decisions, and transformed by their knowledge and experience.

Setting

The educational setting is conducive to study, personal reflection, conversation, and fellowship. Each seminar convenes a diverse group of 15-20 leaders for lively, intensive roundtable discussions led by a skilled moderator. During the course of the seminar participants can relax and enjoy substantial unscheduled time for reading and re-reading, reflection, and enjoyment of the seminar location's natural beauty and various sites of historical and cultural interest.

Participants

The Institute recruits top leaders from all walks of life who are looking for a leadership development program that focuses on questions rather than on answers; successful leaders who want to clarify their core values as they strive to live more significant professional and personal lives; visionary leaders who are looking to understand better the tensions inherent in conceptions of the good society; and concerned leaders who want to be challenged to think more deeply and act more justly in the service of their organizations and communities. 

Outcome

The Institute’s Executive Seminars Program of text-based dialogue offers participants a forum in the context of Christian faith in which to reflect upon the permanent things, cultivate a deeper understanding of the human condition, and be better equipped to pursue public service with a compelling vision for the common good.

Current Seminar Offerings

“On Greatness: A Study of Virtue and Leadership”

Brief Description:  This particular seminar focuses on the classical ideal of greatness or what the ancients called "magnanimity." In his 1828 Dictionary of American Language, Noah Webster defined it as: "Greatness of mind; that elevation or dignity of soul, which encounters danger and trouble with tranquility and firmness, which raises the possessor above revenge, and makes him delight in acts of benevolence, which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects." An exploration of the ideal magnanimity as a leadership virtue and the crown of all virtue will be explored through the teachings of Jesus, St. Paul, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, John Witherspoon, C.S. Lewis, and others. In using the criteria of magnanimity as classically and Christianly understood, the exemplary life of George Washington is examined as a case study in leadership.

Moderator

Greg Jesson, Ph.D.

As an undergraduate student Dr. Jesson wrote a thirty-page letter of questions to the late Christian apologist Francis Schaeffer and was subsequently invited to study with Schaeffer at L'Abri, Switzerland. After finishing his residency at L'Abri Dr. Jesson completed a B.A. in philosophy at the University of California at Los Angeles; an M.A. in philosophy at the University of Southern California under Dr. Dallas Willard; and a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Iowa. Dr. Jesson has taught at many universities and lectured widely in Europe on philosophy, religion, and culture. He was invited to speak at the Veritas Forum at Stanford University, the University of California at Santa Cruz, and the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. Currently, he is a professor at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He has published popular articles on culture such as "The Train Wreck of Truth and Knowledge," and "Love Focused Through the Eye of the Lens: Romance, Sex, and the Human Condition in Contemporary Cinema," along with philosophical works including his book, Taking Skepticism and Knowledge Seriously: The Ontology of Knowing; and editing a book of essays entitled Ontology and Analysis. Inspired by the vision of G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis, Dr. Jesson is interested in educational efforts where faith, learning, and thought, are the most relevant, exciting, and compelling things in the world.

Contact

If you are interested in attending an Executive Seminar or have further questions about the program, please use our contact form. We would be happy to help you.

Alan Crippen has been one of the pivotal influences in my life. During my undergraduate career, he directed me to professors at the University of Notre Dame who became crucial in my intellectual and spiritual formation. During a grace-filled summer in Washington D.C., he provided me and a devoted cadre of young students with a singular discipleship in the intellectually rigorous and faithful pursuit of Truth. During my discernment of where to attend law school, he gave wise Christian counsel that turned out to be decisive. Mr. Crippen is a man who knows his vocation and lives it with verve. Thankfully for all of those who have had the benefit of his tutelage, that vocation centers on the preparation of young Christians for an uncompromised Christian life that retreats neither from orthodoxy nor the intellectual challenges posed by a secular age. In my view, a residential fellowship at the John Jay Institute is among the best training available for a young Christian committed to truly engaging our culture with a vibrant and compelling Christian witness. To a young person presented with the opportunity to participate in such a fellowship, my unqualified advice is: seize it!"
Brandon M.G. Williams, Esq
J.D. University of Virginia School of Law
Attorny, Downey Brand Attorneys, LLP